2017 / 18 Review & Predictions

Blink and the summer is gone and yet another Bristol & District Chess League season is upon us. Ahead of all the excitement kicking off next week, Bristol Chess Times looks ahead and offers our thoughts on the coming battles…

Four divisions, 41 teams and over 300 players will soon collide in a maelstrom of broken pawns and splintered boards (ok I might be over egging it somewhat but there are some very competitive Bristolians’ out there).  Thats right its the start of the 2017/18 Bristol & District Chess League!

Last season Downend & Fishponds Chess Club walked to three of the four available titles so it remains to be seen whether they can continue to hold on to all the silverware.  Here are my top picks for the coming season.

Division 1

Last year Downend cantered into Christmas on the back of eight straight wins which meant that even when they took their foot of the gas in the second half of the season they could still cruise to the title.  However, putting last year to one side, in recent times the top division has been very close and its interesting to note the lesser teams are also getting stronger, meaning dropped points away to Bath, University, Clevedon and the B teams is a distinct possibility.

  • ChampionsClifton A: Out of the mix in the last couple of seasons but still a very strong side with strength across their top 12 boards. Consistency could drive them to the top.
  • Runners UpDownend & Fishponds A: The summer has not been kind and they are not the powerhouse of last year with lots of big money transfers to the London leagues. Whilst always dangerous, I can’t see them bringing their top game every week.
  • Dark HorsesHorfield A: Have been sniffing around the title and I often feel are the Bristol chess equivalent of Liverpool FC.  They were great in the 80’s, beat the big clubs all the time and then lose to Barnsley.  But one of these years…

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Will International Master Chris Beaumont help Clifton steal the title back of Downend? 

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Or will the sassy, free flowing attacking style of Horfield finally deliver a first league title since 2001?

Division 2

Perhaps the bloodiest of the Divisions with high quality chess littered with late night blunders.  I love Division 2, quirks and all! Notoriously hard to call each year unless a big name club dropped out of Division 1 the year before, here are my predictions:

  • ChampionsSouth Bristol B: A strong squad that can turn out week in, week out will ensure that South Bristol B will compete in every match this year.  You won’t see many default points and that can be the difference in the long bloody slog that the quest for the Division 2 title can become.  South Bristol B by a whisker!
  • Runner UpNorth Bristol A: A club on the up, North Bristol have a new name and a raft of new players.  Think Manchester City FC circa 2008. I don’t believe they will have the ability to sculpt a title winning squad in their first season since big change arrived at the club but they will hound their neighbours from South of the river all the way and might just get rewarded with a place at the top table in 2018/19.
  • Dark HorsesCabot: Simply because Bedminster is surely the sleeping giant of the Bristol Chess scene?! With the rest of the division taking lumps out of each other, Cabot could easily cruise along in the chasing pack until the closing days of the season.  Ones to watch, mark my words!

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With a new stadium this year, will Cabot CC rise up to be the powerhouse of chess Bedminster has needed for so long?

Division 3

The trickiest Division to predict in my opinion given the almost yearly injection of fresh blood as clubs promote from their junior ranks and new starters typically add to the element of the unknown. Anyway here we go…

  • ChampionsYate A: Maybe its just me but I struggle playing Yate A.  Well drilled, strength from Board 1 to 6, never give up.  All the attributes of a side that can have the stamina and grit to dig out a title push.  They are nearly always in the top 3 of the division and its about time they sealed the silverware.
  • Runners UpKeynsham: Relegated from Division 2 last year, Im predicting an instant return for this little club to the South East of the city. Experienced league players who will likely be unfazed against any juniors or  newcomers to the league means I predict Keynsham will tick over the points nicely.  Only strength in depth makes me question whether they can claim the Division 3 title.
  • Dark HorsesHanham: There are atleast four other clubs in the Division who on their day could string a run of results together but I’m going to plumb for Hanham based on their experience in the Division.  They have been in the Division for a while without threatening so maybe this could be their year.

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With only 9 teams and a raft of equally matched teams, Division 3 could be a very hard league to predict this year.

Division 4

A massive 12 teams are competing this year in Division 4 which is encouraging signs for the strength of the league and the clubs more junior / newcomer ranks.

  • ChampionsDownend F: Simply because Downend & Fishponds have one of the best setups in the league for junior chess, I have to go for the team that will be coached and watched over by the talented folk at Downend.  Im thinking Alan Hansen “you win nothing with kids” era Manchester United FC. Go for it!
  • Runners UpNorth Bristol B: As already stated, they have a raft of new players and grand ambitions.  Expect them (or their C team) to push all the way.
  • Dark HorsesUniversity B: Always an unknown quantity depending on freshers week so it would be daft not to consider the University B team from throwing a spanner into the works of the Division 4 title.

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North Bristol Chess Club could well prove to be the “elephant in the room” in this years chess season (Ahem)

So there we go! We will check back at the end of the year to see how many of my 12 predictions came true.  I hope you have enjoyed our (slightly tongue in cheek) review of the upcoming season and are feeling as excited as I am about your clubs and your own chances. If you have any predictions of your own then please leave them in the comments below.

Good luck to everyone playing this year!


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Jon Fisher

Jon is the Editor of The Bristol Chess Times and Publicity and Recruitment Officer for The Bristol & District Chess League. He plays for Horfield Chess Club and has been known to play 1. b3 on occasion.

From the Front Line: Steve Boniface Memorial Congress 2017

Eighty eight contestants battled it out across three days and hundreds of games at this years Steve Boniface Memorial Congress. Fresh off the bank holiday weekend, we report on the winners as well as look at some strange goings on with 170 move games…

This years Steve Boniface Memorial Congress was an enjoyable affair. The fantastic weather meant that even those who crashed early on in their games could still walk around with a smile on their faces whilst they waited for the next round (well I did at least). But enough about the weather, lets crack on to the winners.

The FIDE Open (28 entrants) was won by 4th seed Koby Kalavannan (213 ECF, Coulsden Chess Federation).  After taking a bye in round 1, Koby took no prisoners and won four games on the bounce to finish clear top with 4.5 out of 5.  His impressive victory included the scalps of two titled players, WCM Lynda Smith and IM Chris Beaumont. A full link to the cross tables for the Open can be found here.

Koby V Ashley

The final round battle for the Open title.  Koby Kalvannan (right) took the win against Ashley Stewart to score an impressive 4.5 / 5.

With so many top level games in flight its difficult to pull out highlights, although I’m sure many players will find it hard to forget the 170 move marathon in round 2 between Adam Musson (white) and Ashley Stewart (black) which (thanks to the increment) actually carried on into the start of the next round! Remarkable stamina from both players but Ashley eventually won out.

Attila and rest

Top seeds in action!

A score of 4 out of 5 was enough to leave three players tied in first place in the Major section (29 entrants) – Stephen Williams (152 ECF, Essex), Devan Patel (146 ECF, Rushall) and Mathew Wilson (142 ECF, Cardiff). In general the Major was very tightly packed in with the top 14 players all within a point of each other.  A full link to the cross tables for the Major can be found here.

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Participants in the fiercely contested Major section.

Finally the Minor section (31 entrants) was solely won by Tomas Jankowski (122 ECF, Bristol & Clifton CC). The sole representative from a Bristol & District League club to make it to the winners podium! A full link to the cross tables for the Minor can be found here.

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Tomas Jankowski (in green t-shirt), sole winner of the Minor section on 4.5 / 5

This years Steve Boniface Memorial Congress was also the last to be organised by Alan Papier, a loyal and hard working servant of the league for many years.  In true appreciative fashion, a whip round was had in the tournament hall (when Alan wasn’t looking) and a generous presentation and round of applause made prior to the start of the last round.  Im sure many local players will wish Alan all the best and thank him for his organisational duties over the years.

He is being ably replaced by Igor Doklestic of Bristol & Clifton Chess Club who will be working with myself and the League Management Committee to ensure our local tournaments go from strength to strength.

Another great aspect of this years congress was the high attendance by juniors (thanks in  no small measure I’m sure to the excellent Chess in Schools initiative). Twenty juniors (23% of the total entrants) took part with 13 from Somerset and five actually competing in the Major section (editors note – my thanks to John Stubbs for these statistics).

Finally, Im sure all of you (ok, so a small bunch from Horfield CC maybe) are desperately wondering how my venture into the FIDE Open panned out.  I like to think…respectable.

I finished on 2.0 out of 5.0 with 1 win, 2 draws and 2 losses.  Ranked 25th out of the starting 28, my score was enough to give me a creditable joint 19th place finish.  I thoroughly enjoyed every game and can honestly say I wasn’t blown off the board at any time.  As a final teaser, I have included a position from a hard loss I experienced in Round 1 against Gareth Morris of Clifton Chess Club.  Gareth had just launched a vicious hacking attack at me resulting in a naked king with material unbalances abounding. The question is, what is blacks correct move? How to protect the king after whites last move Qh6 check. The question is one of correct strategy (that I did not adopt). I have included a link to my annotated game underneath the board.

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White has just captured blacks rook on h6.  How should black defend? (full annotated game here)

The next tournament on the Calendar is the Chipping Sodbury Rapidplay on the 28th October.  But before then we have the return of the league season! Stay tuned to the Bristol Chess Times for our upcoming review of the season featuring predicted winners and losers.


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Jon Fisher

Jon is the Editor of The Bristol Chess Times and Publicity and Recruitment Officer for The Bristol & District Chess League. He plays for Horfield Chess Club and has been known to play 1. b3 on occasion.

Steve Boniface Memorial Congress on 25th to 27th August

You can tell when the long summer break from league chess is coming to a close when the Steve Boniface Memorial Congress arrives. Traditionally held on the August Bank Holiday, this cracking local congress is an excellent opportunity to warm up ahead of the new league season.

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The Steve Boniface Memorial Congress might just be my favourite tournament in the local chess calendar.  There are not many times when I haven’t played it in the 13yrs I have played in the Bristol league (last years new fatherhood status was a rare but allowable exception). For me it has always signified the end of the summer break from chess and a first opportunity to try out all of my new novelties , openings and general hard studying that I have conducted over May, June, July and August. Its also a welcome opportunity to catch up with club mates and engage in the usual friendly banter!

As congresses go, it is a standard Swiss format with five rounds played across Friday to Sunday.  A FIDE rated Open section is accompanied by a Major (U155 ECF) and Minor (U125 ECF) meaning there is something for everyone. The Steve Boniface Memorial is one of four congresses run throughout the year by Alan Papier, the Bristol leagues congress secretary (Thanks Alan!) and in recent years they have attracted a number of titled players including IM Chris Beaumont and GM Keith Arkell.

I am particularly excited this year as for the first time ever I will be trying my luck in the Open section having achieved a personal best of 152 in the new July grades.  Whilst I fully expect this to put me bottom of the Open field, I feel like my chess is improving through playing tougher opposition.  A creditable 12th finish out of 20 in the Somerset New Years Congress has given me the (perhaps misguided) belief that I won’t finish bottom of my favourite tournament.  Anyway, fortune favours the brave so I will write back next week on how I get on…

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Like all of the main Bristol Congresses, a final highlight is the location and playing area.  Held at Bristol Grammar School in the heart of Clifton, I’ve really enjoyed the venue in terms of both playing but also having access to lots of local shops and restaurants between games.  Particularly useful following those brutal losses in less than 20 moves…

In terms of money there is over £750 of prize money split relatively evenly across the three main sections.  Overall, what is not to like about this great congress that ushers in the new season.

In other local chess news, the 4th and final round of the Downend Summer Quickplay is also this week on Tuesday 22nd August.  Currently Morris Stranger (University Chess Club) and Atilla Reznek (Downend & Fishponds Chess Club) are tied at the top on 11.5pts but there is a big chasing pack so anything could happen.

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Current top standings in the Downend Summer Quickplay after 3 rounds.

The entry form for the Steve Boniface Memorial Congress can be found here or Alan Papier can be contacted on 0789 982 65 15 or chinadoc@chinadoc.force9.co.uk.


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Jon Fisher

Jon is the Editor of The Bristol Chess Times and Publicity and Recruitment Officer for The Bristol & District Chess League. He plays for Horfield Chess Club and has been known to play 1. b3 on occasion.

 

 

Letter from Llandudno

Fourteen players from the Bristol league participated across all categories in the 2017 British Chess Championships. Jerry Humphreys reports from Llandudno on how the South West faired.

This year’s championships were the first in the new format, truncated to one week and two weekends. So the traditional 11 rounds have been reduced to 9 for the two main events, and the junior, senior and rated events all occur in parallel. Except for the younger age groups which are played over two or three days so competitors can play in two age groups. There are also the traditional morning and weekend tournaments and rapidplay on the second Saturday.

The Championships consist of 21 events, and are played in the exceptionally large Venue Cymru but there were other events going on and we did not have access to all the rooms. The organisers had their work cut out trying to make the main room less cramped as the tournaments got into swing. It all worked out ok in the end and somewhere round 330 people sat happily playing chess in the main hall with junior tournaments and a couple of smaller events moved off into separate rooms.

Fourteen Bristol players took part in the British events this year, up from the pre-tournament count as my fellow traveller Daniel Young of Bristol University fame was delighted to tell me on the train that I was due to receive a phone call from Alex Holowczak. Ravi Haria was playing in another event and turning up two days late so they needed a filler for the Championship. As it turned out Nick Arkell withdrew after Round 2 so in the end it had to be a seven game effort.

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Horfield legend Steve Dilleigh in the over 50’s scored 4/7

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Clifton’s Gareth Morris scored 50% in the over 50’s

Leading payers at the start of the Championship were David Howell, Luke McShane and Gawain Jones, with another 11 GMs below. Also another grandmaster, John Nunn, playing in the Over 50s along with Gareth Morris and Steve Dilleigh. Nunn drew his first game, against another former Bristol Uni player Alan Punnett, but proved far too strong for the field thereafter.

Emms v McShane

Emms vs. Mcshane on the top boards

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A tough field of British talent was on display

Llandudno is a 19th century resort developed from a copper mining village and the mines on the headland of the peninsula can be visited by a popular tram which takes visitors up the steep hills in two stages. The narrow neck of land gives the added attraction of two seafronts, with views to Anglesey and Dublin on one side and industrious wind farms providing renewable energy on the other. The town is largely owned by Lord Mostyn who has insisted on the frontages retaining their historic feel and being kept in impeccable order, so the town has a picturesque character highly appealing to visitors.

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The tournament attracted 1061 entries from 821 separate competitors, the latter figure being higher than the last two years (797 in Bournemouth and 766 for Coventry) and in fact higher than any year for which I have records. 102 entries for the Championship will not be repeated again as next year’s event will be the first for which new qualifying criteria apply, with the aim of making the Championship largely an over 200s event, as it used to be until more places started being awarded in the last couple of decades.

Arkell v Howell

Arkell vs. Howell in the main Championship

The Bristol winner of the event was Oli Stubbs, who was part of a huge pile-up of players in first place on 4/5 in the Under 140s, with a 154 performance. Here is a full list of all the Bristolian results.  Well done all!

Oli

Oli Stubbs on his way to joint first place in the under 140’s

Kandara

Despite being one of the lowest seeds Kandara Acharya scored 2.5 / 6 in her age category.

Bristol Results Championship

  • Jerry Humphreys, Downend 3½ /7

Over 50s

  • Steve Dilleigh, Horfield 4/7
  • Gareth Morris, Clifton 3½/7

Under 12

  • Toby Kan, Downend 4½/7
  • Yuvraj Kumar, Bath 3/7
  • Samir Khan, Bath 3/7

Under 11

  • Samir Khan, Bath 4/7
  • Toby Kan, Downend 3/7

Under 10

  • Kandara Acharya, North Bristol 2½/7

Under 140

  • Oli Stubbs, Downend 4/5 (1st=)

Weekend Open (Atkins)

  • John Waterfield, Clifton 3/5

Weekend Under 150 (Soanes)

  • Richard Livermore, Downend 2½/5
  • Chirag Hosdurga, 2/5

Weekend Under 120 (Yates)

  • Grant Daly, Downend 3/5
  • Kevin Langmaid, Yate 3/5
  • Shaun Walsh, Downend 2/5

Rapidplay

  • Grant Daly, Downend 4/9
  • Oli Stubbs, Downend 4½/9

Featured Games

Finally here are two playable games from the championships featuring fine wins by Bristol Players.

  1. Steve Dilleigh (2075) vs. Kevin Goater (2128)
  2. Michael Ashworth (1946) vs. Jerry Humpreys (2041)

 


 

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Jerry Humphreys

Jerry plays for Downend and Fishponds Chess Club and is the Treasurer for the Bristol and District Chess League. He is also a regular contributor to the Bristol Chess Times.

From the Front Line: Gambit Night Review

What would chess be without gambits? Good question! Not half as fun is your answer; as 20 or so swashbucklers proved on Thursday night – battling on new ground over the board as well as new actual ground in North Bristol’s new venue in Filton.

Lifelong gambiteer Steve Woolgar resurrected the tournament this year and prepared 28 gambits – dished out at random before each game began.

1

Gambits on cards often forced players into unknown territory – for example here followed e3, Bb4+ Bd2 and pawn takes e3! The bishop can’t be taken so white has to play with very messed-up pawns.

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For some it was a daring expedition outside of their super-solid repertoire; for others it was welcome respite – where for once they will be just as prepared for the opening as their opponents.

The setting was an active night at Filton sports centre – the ironically unsound chess being played in a noisy former squash court, which was between a swimming pool and a snooker room – but more importantly next to the bar, which would feature more as the night progressed.

3

Nothing but water (I assume its water, might be sprite, who knows) for the two eventual champions Henry Duncansson (left) and Alex Rositter who squared off in round 4 – settling on a draw and winning all their other matches.

4

“Really, I’m supposed to defend this with ten minutes?” Clevedon’s own Stuart Iles (right) bagged the grading prize with 3/5.

The play of the day has to go to the one and only opening theoretician Dave Tipper, who delivered – wait for it – a smothered mate on the board, afterwards explaining to the crowd that the particular gambit line inevitably led to a smooth kingside attack.

Personally, I practice the 5-move smothered mate combination before every chess game (it’s just that satisfying) but as yet have not been able to use it. Dave beat me to it in heroic fashion…

5

The inimitable Nh6 double-check, followed up by the lunge Qg8+!! And the knight returns to f7 to ‘smothermate’ the king.

6

Huzzah!

Thanks to Steve Woolgar for a great effort getting this tournament back on the calendar and a great night of gambiteering – let’s hope some of them work their way into league repertoires this season.


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Mike Harris

Mike is a regular pretender in Bristol’s top division and can also be seen propping up local tournament ladders. He writes a regular column for the Bristol Chess Times and plays a solid 20 openings a season.

Problems in August with GM Chris Jones

There has always been some overlap between the world of chess playing and the world of solving chess problems. John Nunn and Jonathan Mestel hold the GM title for each. International chess problem solving competitions these days are organized in much the same way as international playing tournaments, with ELO solving grades, title norms, etc.. The G.B. team, headed by those two GMs, tend to do well and, with sponsorship from Winton Capital, are competing in the World Championships in Dresden from 7th to 9th August.

If you want to get a flavour of the sort of problems you face in such solving contests try your hand at this one. Composed by Yves Cheyan in 1992, it’s mate in 2 – i.e., find the only move that forces mate next move. It was used in a solving competition organized by the British Chess Problem Society (BCPS) in Nottingham earlier this year.

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One’s eye is drawn to the potential for moves by the c5R, but problems rarely have a checking key, and all the moves by the c5R fail to force mate next move.

A subtler approach is 1.Rhh5. Now, with a new guard provided for d5, moves by the c5R on the c-file are threatened. But 1…Qb7! successfully defends.

The key is 1.e4! (Could be the title for an openings book…) After this key (threat 2.Rc3), the defences and their refutations show the potential scope of most of the pieces in a different light – 1…Bd3+ 2.Rcc2; 1…fxe e.p. 2.Nb3; 1…Nd3 2.Nc2; 1…Bc4 2.Rd5; 1…Kd3 or c3 2.Rc3.

One more problem, also from that solving event in Nottingham. This time it’s a selfmate in 2 – i.e., White has to find the only move after which every black reply enables White to force Black to mate him on his second move. (By G. Thomas, it was published in 1980.)

problem2a

If it were Black to move then after moves of the black bishop White would capture it and then Black would have to play 2…Ra1#. Note particularly 1…Be4 2.Nxe4 and 1…Bxe6 2.Qxe6, because inspection reveals that there isn’t any way in which White, to play, can fully preserve the status quo, and we’re going to have to change those two responses. The key is in fact 1.Ne2!, which has a threat, 2.Qc4+, after which 2…Kxc4 would now be mate (since 1.Ne2 has neutralized the guards of both the c3N and the h2R). It would be 2.Qc4+ that White would now have to play after 1…Be4. All but one of the other captures of the bB are as before, but the shining exception is 1…Bxe6 2.Qc2+!!. Two ‘!’s because I particularly like the fact that after 2…bxc2 the black bishop now guards the a2R! It’s this sort of imagination-stretching feature that can make solving such a pleasure.

Final Position Below (editors note – Very nice!)

solution

If you want to try your hand at solving, there are always problems on the BCPS website – www.theproblemist.org.


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Chris Jones

Chris holds the Grandmaster title for Chess Problem Composition and uses his skills to write a regular column for the Bristol Chess Times.  He is also a  longterm Horfield Chess Club player (where he is acting secretary).

Bristol juniors compete on the national chess stage

The UK Chess Challenge is a National competition for school children across the country. Starting back in September with over 40,000 participants, we are pleased to report a number of talented juniors from the Bristol league have made it to the finals. The Bristol Chess Times spoke to John Stubbs from Downend & Fishponds chess club to learn about the striking performance from our local juniors.

Beginning in local school tournaments and then moving onto a series of regional and national finals the UK Chess Challenge is the largest chess competition for juniors in the UK.  From a field of 40,000 children, no less than four juniors from the Bristol & District league have qualified for the final top 200 places in the upcoming national Terafinal weekend competition, the culmination of the UK chess challenge! Across a range of age categories these daring youngsters have succeeded at the local heats, regional Megafinals and finally the Northern and Southern Gigafinals. The Gigafinals were recently held on the 16th and 23rd of July.

We are pleased to pass on our congratulations to:

  • Kandara Acharya (U9) of North Bristol CC for finishing first in her section of the Northern Gigafinal;
  • Toby Kan (U11) of Downend & Fishponds CC for finishing third in his section in the Northern Gigafinal;
  • Chirag Hosdurga (U12) of North Bristol CC for finishing second in his section in the Southern Gigafinal;
  • Oliver Stubbs (U15) of Downend & Fishponds CC for finishing second in his section of the Southern Gigafinal.

Oli1

I have included some photos from the finals including one of Oliver drawing with a 178 graded opponent and then analysing with International Master Mike Basman. A great showing but also perhaps a stark warning for those daring to cross swords with these young chess players in the upcoming new season.  Under estimate them at your peril!

Photo one,Mike Basman

The Terafinal Final is being held on the 12th and 13th August at Daventry and we wish all the Bristol players good luck!


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Jon Fisher

Jon is the Editor of The Bristol Chess Times and Publicity and Recruitment Officer for The Bristol & District Chess League. He plays for Horfield Chess Club and has been known to play 1. b3 on occasion.

South Bristol Rapidplay

A wonderful day long chess tournament that will tide over serious players whilst we wait for the new league season to begin. A healthy 25 minutes each ensures a high standard of chess is possible but then so are horrific blunders…

Although still relatively young in terms of years on the circuit, the South Bristol CC Rapidplay is a really enjoyable local tournament that sprung up a few years a go.  I’ve always thought it came at exactly the right place in the chess calendar when most league players are starting to turn their gaze towards the upcoming new season at the beginning of September.

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It is a six round rapidplay with the first round beginning at 10am.  Its £15 to enter (£12 for under 16s) and one the day entries are accepted.  South Bristol CC are always welcoming so if your are thinking about joining the Bristol & District chess league then this tournament is a nice stepping stone and welcome insight to competitive league chess.  The competition will be fierce and fun but perhaps most importantly the tea and coffee is free!

The South Bristol Rapidplay is at Whitchurch Folk House, East Dundry Road, Bristol, BS14 0LN on Saturday 12th August. Entry forms are on the main chessit.co.uk website. Contact Roy Day for any questions or applications: royday39@yahoo.co.uk.

Hopefully see you there!

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mecircle

Jon Fisher

Jon is the Editor of The Bristol Chess Times and Publicity and Recruitment Officer for The Bristol & District Chess League. He plays for Horfield Chess Club and has been known to play 1. b3 on occasion.

 

 

Gambit night is back!

Its a well known fact that Gambit Night is one of the crazier nights in the Bristol chess calendar. This fun night from North Bristol Chess Club is rapidly becoming a summer tradition so the Bristol Chess Times endeavoured to find out some more.

Im ashamed to say that Gambit Night is the only Bristol Tournament I have never played in after 13yrs in the league.  Its not a deliberate thing, more a timing issue over the summer months as I’ve often been away or unavailable. So what is Gambit night?

Gambit Night is an evening of blitz with a twist.  At the start of every game the players choose a card with a random gambit written on it. The players are forced to set up the board from the position on the card and then the clocks are started (10 minutes)! Im told that much crazy crazy play follows and it is especially a great leveller between players of different skill. For a league that prides itself on a very high standard of serious chess, the North Bristol CC Gambit Night provides a well established tradition of tongue in cheek chess with a healthy dose of fun (and swearing).  To top it all off the North Bristol crew only charge a modest £3 charge for a full evening of gambit mayhem. Bargain!

To honour this upcoming crazy night in the Bristol chess calendar I decided to look at some dubious gambits with a Bristol twist.  Lets start with “The Clifton Gambit” which stems from a correspondence match between Clifton and Dublin chess clubs in the 19th century.  It took me a while to translate this gambit from the old style notation recorded on the Clifton website and to be honest was left a little cold with its lack of immediate craziness.

The Clifton Gambit

  1. e4 e5 2. f4 pxp 3. Be2?!

cliftongambit

Just what exactly is white gaining from this move?  A quick scan of the statistics shows white scores 51% whilst the computer shows  a score of -1.2 so quite frankly I’m unimpressed.  If you are going to gambit then atleast lets get some dynamic compensation going.  Maybe I’m missing something…

In my quest for a crazy dynamic gambit I was reminded of Horfield’s Mike Harris (Bristol Chess Times first correspondent who will be attending Gambit night and reporting back on his findings) love of the Latvian.  Mike will literally play anything in the Latvian so I’ve just chosen the best gambit I could find with the stupidest name.  Ladies and Gentlemen I give you The Lobster Gambit.

The Lobster Gambit

  1. e4 e5 2.nf3 f5 3. g4?!

lobstergambit

Lovely stuff! Now thats a gambit I can get behind! What a lovely claw shape! Heres hoping North Bristol CC are paying attention and add this crustacean to their deck of gambit cards in the next couple of days.

Ill be honest that my knowledge of Bristolian themed gambits is limited so I welcome any thoughts from longer serving league members than myself.  The final (tenuous) Bristolian connection I could find was the Wing Gambit of the Bishops opening, purely based on Bristol’s proud aeronautical heritage with Conchord. Like I said tenuous.

The Wing Gambit

  1. e4 e5 2. Bc4 Bc5 b4

winggambit

This remarkable move scores a nice healthy 60% with white (from 94 games) and only scores -0.52 with computer analysis.  Dare I say that in the context of a standard club player, then this might actually be sound?! Heres hoping for picking this card at Gambit Night!

So that ends our tour of Bristol themed gambits.  Im sure more knowledgable heads than me may have other crazy lines with a west country twist so feel free to leave a comment below!

Gambit Night is on the 3rd August this year at the Ratepayers Arms, Filton.  The first round starts at 19:45 and entries are accepted on the night. Any questions (and special thanks) can be directed to Steve Woolgar: knightskies@sky.com.

Lets go burn some pawns!


mecircle

Jon Fisher

Jon is the Editor of The Bristol Chess Times and Publicity and Recruitment Officer for The Bristol & District Chess League. He plays for Horfield Chess Club and has been known to play 1. b3 on occasion.

 

Welcome to The Bristol Chess Times

Hello and welcome to the relaunch of The Bristol Chess Times! I know what some of you are thinking…”relaunch Jon?…Bristol Chess Times?”.

Long term stalwarts of the Bristol & District Chess League will remember The Bristol Chess Times as a printed magazine that came out several times a year featuring articles and game compilations from the local league and tournaments.  Unfortunately The Bristol Chess Times ran its last print edition some time in the early 2000’s and lets face it, its never been replaced. The league has sorely missed it.

As the incoming Publicity and Recruitment Officer for the Bristol & District Chess league its my responsibility (and passion) to pull together our community and bolster our ranks.   To welcome and attract players to all clubs and give newcomers to the league the welcome the deserve.  Ive played in the Bristol & District Chess League since 2004 and a more loyal, committed bunch of woodpushers I have yet to meet.  But I also feel that the sense of community I feel when I visit all of the clubs also needs a voice to rally around.  A voice to share our masterpieces and our blunders. A voice to share our relegation woes and our promotion hopes. A voice to announce our joy at the drubbing we just gave Downend (ahem, sorry I mean local rival).

horfieldcup

Enter The Bristol Chess Times…

From today, The Bristol Chess Times will be promoting and pushing fresh new content about our 110yr old league!  Here you will find a wide range of chess content including (but not limited too):

  • Weekly round ups of all the divisions results in the Bristol & District Chess League;
  • Interesting game reviews submitted by readers (that means you!)
  • Overviews of Tournaments and upcoming events
  • Updates from the Chess in Schools programme and other local chess initiatives
  • Articles on the league and hot topics of debate (increments anyone?)
  • Anything else that you want to be covered

To be clear our objectives are twofold:

  • Build the best local community for league chess in the UK
  • Encourage and attract new players of all abilities to the Bristol & District Chess League

Thats great Jon!  How can I help?” I hear you all cry.

At the time of writing we are just in the process of setting up The Bristol Chess Times so now is the time to engage.  We are looking for contributors to the magazine, whether that is a one off or a regular feature writer.  The above list of topic ideas should help get you all thinking about how and what you could contribute. For example, Mike Harris from Horfield Chess Club is very tempted by a monthly column called “Mucking around on the Dark Squares”, although we all agree we probably need to work on the title of that one!

I am the editor of the magazine so any questions or requests then fire them at me to bristolchesstimes@gmail.com

postergraphic

If the journalistic fever has not taken you over just yet, then you can still help us by simply engaging and sharing the content that The Bristol Chess Times produces. Commenting and sharing goes a long way to increasing the visibility of the league and thus helps recruitment.

Im sure I will write more in good time but for now I wanted to get us going and celebrate the rebirth of The Bristol Chess Times.

Thank you for reading, together we can do this!


mecircle

Jon Fisher

Jon is the Editor of The Bristol Chess Times and Publicity and Recruitment Officer for The Bristol & District Chess League. He plays for Horfield Chess Club and has been known to play 1. b3 on occasion.